John Gruber Loses His Mojo

I love Daring Fireball and John Gruber is one of the best tech writers out there. But since the election Gruber seems distracted. A lot of people probably are…still. He writes more about politics, which is fine, but unless you are a Gore Vidal, writing political stuff is tricky business. And if you are not a Gore Vidal, it is distraction. Witness Gruber’s take of Neil Cybart’s Above Avalon post Apple’s Achilles Heel. Let me explain.

Steve Jobs at his last appearance with the soon to retire Walt Mossberg had some great things to say. Not just about Adobe Flash or words of wisdom, but something from his soul; the essence of all that he had learned.

Apple is a company that doesn’t have the most resources of everybody in the world, and the way we’ve succeeded is by choosing what horses to ride really carefully…
And if you choose wisely you can save yourself an enormous amount of work versus trying to do everything, and you can put energy into making those new emerging technologies be great on your platform rather than just OK because you’re spreading yourself too thin.

Limited time, energy, and resources. Choose wisely and you can put those precious things to the best possible use and make a difference. Gruber:

The iPhone hasn’t suffered because Apple is focused on the Mac. New iPhones come out like clockwork every year. Apple has really gotten it down to a science in recent years. The Mac lineup, however — and the Mac Pro in particular — has clearly suffered from a lack of attention. Where did that institutional attention go? Surely much of it went to iPhone.

I’m not arguing that it’s a mistake for Apple to devote more attention to the iPhone than any other product…. But it’s a mistake to focus so much attention on the iPhone that other important products suffer.

Too much, he says. To paraphrase Jobs, iPhone is still in its spring, the Mac is in its autumn. I agree with Cybart and Jobs. Apple has limited time, energy and resources. Is choosing the Mac Pro the wisest choice? I don’t know. But making a choice means giving up something else. It always does.